The UK Seniors Championship this week will feature the likes of Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, and John Parrott.
Twelve players in total return to Hull for the third staging of the tournament, beginning Thursday.
Ken Doherty triumphed twelve months ago at the Hull Venue but won’t be able to defend his title as he regained his full professional tour card this year.
It leaves 2017 champion White as the obvious favourite for glory, with the “Whirlwind” bidding for a record sixth seniors career title.
While the 57 year-old also competes on the Main Tour, he does so only through an invitational tour card, a loophole that the World Seniors Tour has taken advantage of to good effect in getting one of the game’s most popular players to participate in the majority of its biggest events.
White triumphed in the World Seniors Championship for a second time in the summer when he tasted success at the Crucible Theatre by defeating Darren Morgan in the final.
Other triumphs this year in the Irish Seniors Masters and the Seniors 6-Red World Championship have ensured that the “People’s Champion” has enjoyed a level of domination on the circuit so far.
The Londoner is one of four seeded competitors who have received a bye through to the quarter-finals – alongside Hendry, Parrott, and James Wattana.
White and Hendry have been kept apart on opposite sides of the UK Seniors Championship bracket, ensuring that a mouthwatering showdown for glory could still be on the cards.
Seven-time world champion Hendry has been busy since he retired at the Crucible in 2012, with a lot of his time taken up by his television punditry, his promotion of Chinese pool, and his role as a member of the PokerStars team.
However, the Scot has rarely threatened to replicate the kind of success from his heyday on the World Seniors Tour.
Indeed, Hendry has somewhat surprisingly never even reached a final, which is not what anyone expected when he signed on to compete more regularly on the circuit.
The former world number one awaits the winner from the first round tie between 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor and Rodney Goggins.
Ireland’s Goggins emerged from one of the qualifying competitions that were staged across Europe since June.
White, meanwhile, will begin his quest with a match against either Rory McLeod or Sean Lanigan.
There’s a snooker table in the Quay! The UK Seniors Snooker Championship is coming to Hull next week. @PrincesQuayHull @bonusarenahull pic.twitter.com/07YsV7rNu1
— Matt Hutchinson (@mattthehutch) October 18, 2019
Other preliminary round fixtures include Cliff Thorburn’s clash with Patrick Wallace and Willie Thorne’s bout against Michael Judge.
Thorburn memorably triumphed in last year’s Seniors Masters and the Canadian will face fellow former world champion Parrott in the quarter-finals should he negotiate the tricky initial challenge of Wallace.
Either Thorne or Judge will then take on Wattana, the Thai former world number three who reached the semi-finals of the World Seniors Championship in August.
Jason Francis, the man behind the Snooker Legends series of exhibitions that led to the official launch of the World Seniors Tour, said: “It’s great to be back in Hull.”
“The event is getting better and better and I’m particularly pleased that players like Rory (McLeod) are qualifying.
“We are now seeing another important reason why the WPBSA created this tour with me.
“It gives players who have provided the sport with great service something to play in once they have fallen off the pro scene.
“This should give some comfort to those professional players looking ahead to life beyond the Main Tour.”
The two-day event will commence on Thursday with the champion set to be crowned on Friday evening.
Every ball potted during the 2019 UK Seniors Championship can be seen either on FreeSports TV or Facebook via the World Seniors Snooker page.
The snooker might not be at the very highest level but it remains a terrific opportunity for fans to watch some of the stars of yesteryear in action, as well as seasoned amateurs in the twilight of their snooker careers finally managing to make a name for themselves on the baize.
Who will emerge with the title?
I was watching all day on FreeSports and was concerned that the evening matches were not scheduled. Thankfully the commentators finally informed us that the session would be on PremierSports 2 at 7.00. Hendry’s match was just starting at 10.30 when it suddenly stopped and we were informed I now had to subscribe for £11.99. I went to bed, but am now watching the highlights of yesterday’s play that started at 6 am. Today should be ok (hopefully), but wanted to let you know that it wasn’t ALL on FreeSports.
Yes there seems to have been some issues. It was originally said on World Seniors Tour social media channels that every ball would be shown on FreeSports but it appears there were scheduling conflicts. They do have live streaming on Facebook when it’s not being covered on FreeSports I believe.
Yes, I heard that, but was so annoyed at the time, I switched off and went to bed
It just went off without any warning, just as Hendry was introduced.